iOS 5 is here! Geofencing, new Voices in Voice Command/Siri, and Notification Center for all!

We all know how heartfelt iOS makes you seem (Cards), how much control it gives you for managing your network (Airport Utility), and how it will easily turn you into a stalker (Find Your Friends), but what about all the day-in and day-out things that truely make the upgrade process worth it?

Please post only one tip per answer, and check to see if your answer has already been posted - duplicate answers will be deleted. To search answers for this question use inquestion:27761 (or inquestion:this, while viewing this question specifically) in addition to your search terms in the search box in the upper right hand corner of this page.


57 Answers 57


Usage shows how much space each app is using

Settings -> General -> Usage

iOS 5 now collects the space used by apps and the data in the app - sorted by the largest size. If you need to free up some space quickly, this is a great way to easily identify and remove the largest burdens on your storage space.

Of specific tiny note, the edit button in the top right allows you to delete selective content from apps like Music.

  • This was clearly inspired by Android, but it looks much nicer on the iOS.
    – Bora
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 9:07
  • @Bora: true for many iOS 5 features.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 16:24
  • @DanAbramov, and true vica-versa. Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 22:02

Retractable Keyboard in Messages.app

The neat way that you can scroll down on iMessages and it pulls the keyboard down with your finger.

  • Oh WOW. That is awesome! I hadn't even been in a position to use that yet! Great obvious addition you'll see as soon as you have to review a previous message in the conversation. Very neat! Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 23:04
  • 13
    This. As small as it seems, I desperately wanted this feature. Big help when your best friend sends you 1500-word rants via text message. :)
    – Dan J
    Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 11:57

Undo Close Tab

In Safari on the iPad, tap and hold the [+] button to display a list of recently closed tabs instead of creating a new empty tab.


Keyboard shortcuts

I wanted this for a long time.

  • I've wanted those as well, but I was disappointed that you can't have shortcuts for multiline text. On the Mac, I have shortcuts for valedictions. Having that would save a lot of time on the iPhone.
    – Kiezpro
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 21:12
  • 10
    I wonder if \n works ;) (I'll save you 2 mins, it doesn't)
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 0:11
  • What about \r? (I am being facetious.) Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 5:17
  • Unfortunately, none of these work. Maybe in iOS 5.0.1...
    – Kiezpro
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 21:48
  • 4
    I have a shortcut that is my e-mail address. This makes logging in to websites a lot easier, particularly since I have underscores in my e-mail address. Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 4:21

12 Hour, Hour-by-Hour forecast

When viewing Weather.app, simply tapping on the screen/6 day forecast will slide the days downward, and reveal a 12 hour, hour-by-hour forecast!

Note also that "Hourly" illuminates underneath the city name when in this mode.


Read those long song titles and artist/album names

You can tap and hold on a song/podcast title to get a pop-up of the entire description.

  • I don't understand this feature. It only shows information that's already visible in the list. Strange. Of its unfinished, doubly strange.
    – user10355
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 5:33
  • 1
    @cksum: Well kind of. You can see the title of the song was truncated so the popup shows all the song info.
    – styfle
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:20
  • 5
    Moreover, it now also shows the full title when displaying the currently playing song's cover art using a marquee. It used to chop it off if it was too long before, making it especially useless for podcasts and audiobook with numbers at the end of the title. Have been complaining about that since iPhoneOS 1.0 Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:38
  • 1
    Now if this could only be implemented in the iTunes app. So many podcasts prefix the title of the episode with the podcast name and you can't ever tell what the contents of that episode is.
    – jessegavin
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 16:23

Swipe Camera to view Photo Roll

When Camera.app is open, and you want to quickly view your previously taken photos instead, don't hit the photo button in the bottom left, simply swipe the screen from left-to-right and you will go in descending date-taken order through your Camera Roll.

Note that you cannot do this if your phone is locked and you used the 'quick camera' method, except for photos taken in that session.

This screenshot was taken mid-swipe (which is rather difficult to do). Note the Camera.app interface on the right half, and a familiar partial screenshot on the left.

  • It's probably worth noting that Windows Phone is probably responsible for this (having done it first) as well as the physical button camera shutter. Competition at work :)
    – alirobe
    Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 4:27
  • I wonder if Camera+ predates the release of Windows Phone? I honestly can't put a suitable timeline in my head at the moment. Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 18:11
  • Camera.ipa n'est-ce pas? Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 22:29
  • I don't entirely understand the question. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 22:53
  • 3
    @VxJasonxV probably a good idea to change the screenshot to something that doesn't look like an app switching swipe... :)
    – ocodo
    Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 0:16

Good Vibrations

Custom vibration patterns! (Turn them on in Accessibility; tap them out in Sounds; set them by contact in Contacts).


  • That's very very cool.
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 0:17

Maps.app now features alternate routes

When getting directions that encompass a long distance that may have multiple highway routes, you will be able to choose 'Route 1' or 'Route 2' after searching the addresses, and before hitting start. Tapping on the 'Route 1'/'Route 2' tooltips will change the color for that route (light blue/dark blue) and also update the estimated distance and time in the header bar.

  • But does it have voice directions yet? That's the big thing that keeps my wife from using her phone as a navigator. Seems like it would be a natural fit with Siri...
    – Toji
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 21:47

Alternative Shutter Button

I love that you can use the volume up button to take a photo. This is great in landscape mode.

Also if you are using Apple's headphone or any headphone that compatible with iOS, using the volume + button from the headphone also can take a photo for you, this is great for remote shutter !

  • You beat me 5 seconds.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 20:56
  • This is the first thing that struck me when I got my iPhone. It's hard to keep it still when tapping the screen. Commented Oct 24, 2011 at 11:05

Split keyboard on the iPad

Just pull the keyboard apart with your thumbs. The Hide Keyboard button (bottom right) can now be used to reposition the split keyboard on the screen. It takes some getting used to but it can be handy for typing whilst holding the iPad in your hands.

enter image description here

  • 6
    It also "undocks", press and hold the keyboard button.
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 2:59
  • 2
    Huh. I never even thought to pull apart the keyboard, I always just used the retraction icon and the "grips" that were added to it. But need that you can just expand it apart! Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 5:49
  • Yay typos. But neat*, that you can just expand it apart. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 16:50
  • I love the animation of it.
    – abc905
    Commented Nov 7, 2011 at 12:11

Draggable Recipients

You can drag and drop recipients between To, Cc and Bcc in Mail app.

  • 10
    I appreciate the hand contortion or outside assistance it must have required for you to be able to take this screenshot. Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 4:26

Swipe Individual Notifications

My favorite mini-feature yet: you can swipe any notification on the lock screen.
This will remove the lock and proceed to the relevant app.

  • 1
    This one is so good and intuitive, I didn't even THINK about mentioning this was new. Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 16:32
  • By hold you mean lock, correct? Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 23:17
  • 1
    @Josh: yeah. Don't know what's wrong with me..
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 23:24

Third Party Audio Apps Can Publish Song Data to Lock Screen / Multitasking Bar

In previous versions of iOS, the lock screen and multitasking bar would simply show the app name that's playing music. But now, if supported in the app/implemented by the developer, full Artist, Album, and Title information can be shown instead.

Note the non-Music.app icon in the multitasking bar.

  • 4
    +1 because (a) I wish my Android phone had a better OEM lock screen and (b) Skrillex
    – Matt Ball
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 19:23
  • 2
    I'm looking forward to Spotify implementing this :) Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 22:35
  • I saw Soundcloud doing that in iOS 4.
    – Max Yankov
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 13:09
  • I'm fairly certain you didn't. Apps previously had no way to be able to do that. Because apps couldn't "change their name" in order to show something different in the multitasking bar / lock screen. There was no SDK mechanism like there is now to publish this data. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 16:46
  • 1
    Oh, sorry, I misunderstood. The icon of the currently playing application is not new, that's been around since the multitasking bar existed (iOS 4); the name of the song is the part that is new. Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 16:35


Word definitions from text selections.

  • It's not just text editing apps. It also works on most apps that display text and let you select it such as Safari or the web browser component.
    – Senseful
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 3:00
  • I've updated the answer to put this more clearly, I hurried to get the thing posted with the pics and didn't think about wording properly.
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 3:14
  • How does this work? I mean, how can I get those "definitions"?
    – Martin
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 16:52
  • 1
    Just tap the right arrow on the copy | cut selected text menu, and there's the define option, or tap left to go back.
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 1:20
  • It does not work for me. I get the "copy|cut" button, but there are no arrows. iPhone 4, iOS 5, German.
    – Martin
    Commented Oct 21, 2011 at 7:03

Current Volume Reminder

Switching the phone from Silent mode back to normal now displays the current ringer volume.


6 day forecast in Weather Widget for Notification Center

When in the Notification Center drawer, you can swipe the Current Weather widget in either direction to switch between Current Local Conditions, to the same 6 day forecast you would see in Weather.app. Saves a ton of time!

  • 7
    There is no reason for Hanging with Friends to be abbreviated in such a manner... thanks Zynga :/. Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 7:42

MobileSafari, Mobile Reader

The Reader button in Mobile Safari address bar.

It displays a page not entirely suited for mobile in an easy to read, black-and-white format. It removes all of the extraneous information and focuses on the body text.

EDIT: Something new I noticed recently, if the article has a link such as "Continued on page 2...", the Reader will automatically load the additional pages, allowing you to scroll through the entire article without leaving the Reader.

  • I was so happy when I saw this.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 20:54
  • I remember seeing this as a feature for normal Safari and thinking, meh. But on the iPhone this feature is gold!
    – styfle
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:18
  • Is this only available on the iPhone 4S? I don't see it on my iPhone 4. Do I have to enable it somehow?
    – jessegavin
    Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 16:26
  • 1
    @jessegavin, I have an iPhone 4. It seems to only appear on certain pages, usually those with a single article. It doesn't appear if you have a string of blog entries (multiple articles) or a forum listing. Also you have to wait for the whole page to load first. Try a news site so you can see it in action. Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 22:08
  • @jesse, It is up to the website developer to β€œmark” content as an article. Most news websites and blogs already do this, but not all.
    – Dan
    Commented Oct 30, 2011 at 22:27

Additional Data in Calendar when Rotated

Calendar.app when the iPhone is rotated in landscape mode displays a week mode.

Horizontal scroll iterates through days.
Vertical scroll iterates through hours.

  • 3
    WHOA! I have never seen anyone mention this feature before. This is extremely useful for the first couple weeks of each quarter when I need to see my classes for the week.
    – styfle
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:24

Ability to edit the colours of Exchange calendars

Finally, I can make the colours of each Exchange calendar consistent, without needing to buy a Mac, to use iCal!

To change the colours:

  1. Click on the Calendars button
  2. Click on Edit
  3. Click on the ">" button next to a calendar
  4. Pick the Colour of your choice...

iPad calendar colour-selection dialog

A nice extra touch is that if you use a 3rd-party calendar app, such as Informant HD, the same colours are used there too.

  • I was excited to see my colors change since I use Google Sync. Now I'm really excited I can change them on the phone itself :D
    – styfle
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:14
  • OK, I did NOT know that. :D
    – jrg
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 11:55

Emoji for everybody!

Emoji is now a keyboard that can be used by anybody, where prior to iOS 5 it would only be enabled by the use of a Softbank (Japanese Cell Phone Carrier) SIM card in your device, or via special tricks that certain applications would perform.

Enable it by going into Settings -> General -> Keyboard -> International Keyboards -> Add New Keyboard, then scroll about 1/3rd of the way down and tap 'Emoji'.

Emoji are cute little detailed picture icons. These icons can only generally be seen on Apple computers, iPhone users, or most Japanese Cell Phones (albeit they will look quite a bit different on those).


  • 1
    There's a special easter egg for users viewing this answer in Safari, or on an iOS device, only. Chrome users (like myself, unfortunately) cannot see it. Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 7:42
  • 1
    Perhaps you meant Safari users on Lion. On Safari on SL, I see only the boxes (as with Chrome)
    – Nivas
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 12:59
  • 3
    @GEdgar why would you want to email a Windows user anyway?! :P
    – hairboat
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 21:58
  • 1
    E-mailing you at Stack Exchange would mean e-mailing a Windows user :(. Commented Oct 16, 2011 at 5:07
  • 1
    This is 100% true, but the fact that you can input them easily on an iPhone is relatively special :). I mean, I've been entering Unicode on a phone since my Sidekick 2, but this method is 1098530974298712x easier. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 22:51

Double tapping the home button on the lock screen shows you both media controls, and a camera icon to the right of the unlock swiping track. Not only is the Camera available from the lock screen, but as soon as you push the home button, it whisks you right back to the lock screen. So nobody can get into your iPhone without unlocking it.

  • 1
    I'm not sure what you mean. If the phone is locked, and you tap the camera button it opens up the camera app. But if you then click the home button is takes you to the home screen, not the lock screen Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 11:10
  • 1
    @hopeless That happens to me too, but I think it's a bug. Or maybe it depends on whether you have a pass code set.
    – benzado
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 15:33
  • 1
    Pressing the home button takes you to the lock screen with the pin input panel raised if you have a passcode set. Commented Nov 8, 2011 at 6:54

More convenient "Find On Page" searching

I just noticed that when you're in Safari, and you click in the Search box at the top-right, the keyboard has a new "Find on Page" box, that is much more convenient than the old iOS 4 way of searching.

enter image description here

Edit: 20/10/2011

The Pad Gadget page iPad Quick Tip – Find Text and Keywords in Mobile Safari shows a screenshot from the iOS 4 days. Notice how the "On this page" bit appears after it's searched the Web. My point is that the iOS 5 way is more obvious, and more convenient.

  • 2
    iPad-only, unfortunately.
    – jwaddell
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 3:46
  • I don't like how you only get this after tapping the search box, however. It makes sense considering the way to do it before, but it doesn't generally make sense. Well, maybe. Different kinds of search :/. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 5:52
  • I didn't even know the old Safari had in-page search. This is pretty cool..
    – Paperjam
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 20:04
  • 3
    This isn't iPad-only; you have to start typing text before "Find in Page (n matches)" will show in the bottom of the results. Commented Oct 19, 2011 at 22:02
  • @SteveShaner - That was there before iOS5.
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 20, 2011 at 3:12

Mass Mark as Read/Unread/Flag

You can now mark multiple emails as Read/Unread from the edit mode in Mail without having to open each message.

  • Ignore iCloud, this and the hole + in iPad safari for recently closed tabs, is way more worth the upgrade process.
    – Jonathan.
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 18:38
  • @djacobson - Please expand on how this is done.
    – ocodo
    Commented Mar 24, 2012 at 0:17

Ringtones (can) Serve Double Duty as Notification Tones

Ringtones that are less than 15 seconds will also show up in the the various other notification types.

New (SMS) Message, Calendar Alerts, Tweet Sent, etc. They can even be defined as the SMS tone for a specific contact in your Address Book.


Rename Your iOS Device

I can change my iPod's name without using a computer.

Silly I know, but I can.

Settings.app > General > About > Name

  • 11
    PC-Free is the way to be. Cut the Cord! Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 16:31
  • @VxJasonxV Got that right! Side note: I haven't changed my iPod's name back yet. ;)
    – jrg
    Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 16:33
  • @VxJasonxV: Is that a reference to the old commercials that use to say "Drug-free is the way to be" or did I just have a weird deja-vu moment?
    – styfle
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:10
  • You just had a weird déjà vu moment. Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 16:30
  • I'm not so happy to have my private data under someone else's control. But it is a smart business.
    – Hack Saw
    Commented Oct 22, 2011 at 19:46

Ghost Buttons on the iPad's Split Keyboard

Many have complained about the split keyboard not matching their natural finger choice for the middle letters (TY / GH / VB), but as it turns out, those keys all exist on the both sides of the keyboard. Want to hit Y with your left finger? Do it, it's there, and it's really wide too, easily 3 buttons wide. Want to hit V with your right finger? Do it, same rules apply. It's really amazingly well done.

Hat tip to Finer Things in iOS:

enter image description here


Multi-touch gestures on iPad

  1. Pinch to close app
  2. Swipe up with four fingers to show the app switcher
  3. Swipe left/right with four fingers to switch between running apps

I'm finding number 3 less useful so far but 1 and 2 are becoming second nature.

  • 4
    It kinda sucks but this feature existed for iPad 1 in iOS 4.3. They pulled this out in iOS 5. Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 0:14
  • I enjoy using 1 and 3 (3 is a real time saver), hadn't found 2 yet.
    – ocodo
    Commented Oct 17, 2011 at 2:59
  • 1
    Gestures are returning to the first iPad in iOS 5.0.1. Commented Nov 5, 2011 at 18:46
  • 1
    iOS 5.0.1 makes this appear on iPad 1 :) Commented Nov 23, 2011 at 4:53
  • 1
    I love this feature. I never use the home button anymore. ;-)
    – daviesgeek
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 18:24

Notifications allows control over badge counts

If you prefer icons to be clean and without status - specifically in apps like Mail, notifications allows fine grained control over displaying a badge or not.


You can send and receive iPhone FaceTime calls via email addresses

This is nothing new to iPod touch or iPad users, but up until iOS 5 iPhone users could only send or receive FaceTime calls with their phone number. Now you can add one or more email addresses to the FaceTime section in Settings to enable people to FaceTime you at those addresses. You can also configure the Caller ID to be either the phone number or any of the email addresses - useful to prevent people you FaceTime with from getting your phone number.

You also have the same flexibility with iMessage as well, the ability to send and receive messages from either your phone number of any number of email addresses.

  • 2
    This is now feature-equal with OS X's Facetime.app, and that helps, a lot. Commented Oct 15, 2011 at 7:34
  • You should mention the same goes for iMessage too.
    – styfle
    Commented Oct 18, 2011 at 6:15

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .